Nats’ Span on hot streak
By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter
Denard Span extended the best hitting streak of his career to 15 games on Sunday night with a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning. Entering Monday’s series opener against the Phillies, he had a .407 average over his past 15 games.
Span has been spending extra time in the batting cage with hitting coach Rick Schu, who introduced a concept called “fluididity” to the center fielder.
“I don’t know if it’s a word, but it is now,” Schu said over the weekend. “We’re just trying to get him some rhythm and some flow. Really not a big overhaul — it’s tough because you’ve got to compete every day — but we’re just trying to find some rhythm and get him a game plan every day.”
Span hit .265 in 90 games before Schu’s arrival and is hitting .303 in 34 games since. Perhaps the most noticeable difference in Span’s approach is that he has been hitting for power. All three of his home runs this season have come since the All-Star break, in addition to five doubles and two triples.
“He’s a strong guy,” Schu said. “We don’t want him to go up and worry about hitting home runs, but he’s going to run into them and hit them. It’s just a matter of getting through his front side and just staying through the baseball a little bit longer.”
Schu praised Span as an all-around hitter with the ability of a perennial All-Star. He said that Span is not just a table-setter at the top of the lineup, but someone who could hit 10 home runs in a season as well.
“Not to take anything from conventional leadoff hitters, but I’ve never considered myself just a slap guy, or a singles guy,” Span said. “I’ve always considered myself a guy that can drive the ball in the gaps and hit some home runs. I’m confident in my ability. I know what God has blessed me with. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and just continuing to work.”